General Dentistry Experts Opine on Failure to Diagnose Gum Disease


Dentistry Expert WitnessThis case involves a failure to diagnose periodontal disease over an extended period of time. The defendant is a retired dentist who had previously provided dental care to the plaintiff for over 2 decades in New Hampshire. The patient stopped treatment with the defendant when defendant retired, and was then seen by a new dentist that the defendant recommended. The new dentist was surprised by the poor condition of the patient’s teeth and indicated evidence of periodontal decay dating back nearly 15 years. As a result, the plaintiff had to have a number of invasive treatments, including a root canal and the removal of several teeth.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you able to review the case and evidence of the periodontal decay?
  • 2. Do you have extensive experience treating patients who have periodontal decay?
  • 3. Have you ever had a patient develop the outcome noted above?

Expert Witness Response E-000552

Expert-ID: E-000552

I have 44 years of experience as a general dentist and treat patients with periodontal disease every day. I have maintained my expertise in the field over the years with extensive periodontal training; the failure to maintain one’s skillset may have been the cause of the defendant’s errors. That said, it is always the dentist’s responsibility to diagnose and recommend treatment when maladies become apparent. I lecture on general dentistry in an educational setting and periodontal issues do arise; that said, I do not expect to have taught anything that would justify the defendant’s inaction.

Expert Witness Response E-000921

Unfortunately, older dentists were not very aware of periodontal disease; the failure to update their knowledge amounts to supervised negligence. I worked on a case and jury trial that was exactly like this and have the professional experience to consult for this case as well. I have not lectured or been published specifically on periodontal disease, though it is a common and thoroughly mundane aspect of everyday dental practice. I certainly have never had a patient in my care suffer from neglected periodontal disease.

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